SAN DIEGO ATTORNEYS FORM RESOLVE LAW SAN DIEGO, A PRO BONO PROGRAM TO HELP CIVIL LITIGANTS IN FACE OF COVID-19 CRISIS
SAN DIEGO (June 10, 2020) – Amidst COVID-19 induced shelter-in-place orders, the San Diego Superior Court closed for all civil matters – creating a backlog of over 8,000 missed hearings, dozens of trials and an inability to move cases forward. In response, San Diego lawyers have joined forces to create RESOLVE Law San Diego (RLSD), poised to be the largest legal pro bono program in San Diego history.
Designed to streamline the law and motion and mediation processes, the program – created by San Diego County Bar members and supported by virtually every bar association in the county – will help move civil cases forward by providing local attorneys a free venue for dispute resolution outside of the constrained court system.
According to RESOLVE Law San Diego chair Amy R. Martel, a partner with Chihak & Martel, the new program will offer litigants the opportunity to connect with a retired judge or a qualified local attorney to hear matters free of charge. Hearings are conducted by telephone or video conferencing and briefing is limited. The program is scheduled to last for 120 days while the San Diego Superior Court grapples with the backlog of cases after a two-month closure. “Our community’s access to justice is in jeopardy while the court struggles to reschedule hearings and pushes jury trials out to 2021. Parties can agree to use RESOLVE Law for mediation, discovery disputes or law and motion and have their matter resolved within weeks,” Martel said. “We created this program to make it as easy as possible to help our colleagues who need cases acted upon expeditiously.”
Partnering with the San Diego Bar Foundation, RESOLVE Law San Diego was created and is led by Martel, along with David S. Casey, Jr. (Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP), Heather Rosing (Klinedinst PC.), Benjamin Bunn (Bunn Law Group), William Low (Higgs Fletcher and Mack), Alan Brubaker (Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie), Deborah Dixon (Dixon Diab & Chambers), N. Ben Cramer (Carroll Kelly Trotter & Franzen), John Gomez (Gomez Trial Attorneys), Ana M. Sambold (Sambold Law & ADR Services), Janice Brown (Brown Law Group), Jenna E. Hackett (Feuerstein, Murphy & Beals), Patricia A. Coyne (Kimball, Tirey, & St. John LLP), Shannon N. Montisano (Hughes & Pizzuto) and Sean Ponist (Ponist Law Group).
Formed by lawyers who both prosecute and defend civil claims, RLSD is not a court sponsored program. Committee member and prominent civil defense lawyer William M. Low, a partner with Higgs Fletcher & Mack, LLP, noted, “I am very gratified by the outpouring of support we have received from lawyers and retired judges who have enthusiastically agreed to volunteer their time to RESOLVE Law San Diego. This confirms, once again, my belief that San Diego has been blessed with one of the finest and most selfless collection of lawyers and judges in the state.”
CaseyGerry partner David S. Casey, Jr., who also serves on the committee, noted public and civil litigants are now faced with a historical challenge in dealing with civil matters, impacting everyday citizens. “The San Diego legal community is collaborating to offer an innovative and forward-thinking approach to litigation during this pandemic,” he said. “RESOLVE Law San Diego offers an unprecedented example of San Diego lawyers moving forward in a positive way to mitigate legal challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis.” RESOLVE Law San Diego has the support of numerous local legal organizations including:
The over 220 lawyers and retired judges who have volunteered to participate in the program can be accessed at www.resolvelawsandiego.com. For more information, contact RESOLVE Law San Diego at sdcbf.org or contact Amy Martel at (858) 481-7252.